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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Headfirst, Fearless

  I wanted to post earlier this week, but I've been in some kind of funk and I made a promise to myself the day I started this blog to only write when it's real and genuine and when inspiration hits. So you're not gonna see in-a-funk posts. 'Cause funk posts are not cool.

  Yesterday as I stood in line at a tiny coffee shop, awaiting my passion tea with honey, I smelled it. Herbal Essence hairspray. Remember that one? Haven't used it in years. Since Jr. High, in fact. It wafted up from a group of giggling high school-aged girls sitting in a circle of leather couches in the corner. Instantly took me back to teenagehood. My best friends and I used it liberally. We sprayed that stuff on like it was goin' out of style. And man did it smell good (although made your hair sticky, then dry and crunchy..) 

Reminded me of a sweet and precious time of my life when the Lord taught me a beautiful lesson about faith.

 We sat on the green lawn of one of the guest cottages at the Ranch where I grew up (My dad led a ministry school for students all over the world and it was located on a 350 acre horse ranch. Someday I'll share all about those days with y'all) and held hands and prayed with my two best friends in the whole world -Mandy and Rachel. I suppose this tradition was what prompted the baseball field prayer times. As little girls (14 and 15 years old) we prayed about everything under the sun.
   We prayed about our biggest, craziest dreams and hopes of being singers, missionaries, actresses. We prayed for our future husbands - asking God to bring us the men He was preparing for us, at the right time - asking Him to grow them -whoever they may be, save our hearts for them and make them (and us) strong and godly. We brought everything to the Lord, laying it happily at His feet. I don't share this to make it sound like we were perfect, holier than thou kids...we certainly were far from it! But sometimes, I look back in amazement at the childlike faith we all shared. And when I compare it to my current state of faith at times, I must painfully admit that the grown-up Erin is sorely lacking.

Just 3 little girls. With big hearts of faith and big eyes looking toward a very big God.
At the time, we shared a mini-obsession with Ireland. We talked about it, dreamed about it, and wanted to go there so badly. (If I recall...we had recently been taken by Rachel's precious parents to see Lord of the Dance which I am sure fueled the fire of our love!)
In all logic and sense - it was totally and completely impossible for us to visit Ireland anytime soon. All good sense absolutely defied the notion. Yet, the icy fingers of doubt that often overtake adult hearts had not yet tackled or destroyed any dreams of the three little girl hearts. And so we decided to start praying. Every day and every time we had a slumber party, we asked the Lord to open a door and give three California girls a trip to Ireland. It was simple. And looking back, sweet. Unhindered by fear of disappointment or being let-down, we prayed and prayed. Simply asking our Father for a sweet gift.

 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be open to you.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds.
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
If you then, though you are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven
give good gifts to those who ask Him!"
-Matthew 7:7-11

 A few years passed, and sure enough... the impossible happened. It seriously did! It was like a dream come true for me. Through a unique set of circumstances, the opportunity arose. I could hardly believe it. The three of us packed our bags and flew on a jet plane to our long-prayed for and longed for destination -

Ireland.

It was sweet. A faith-builder for me. A prayer answered. A dream come true.
Enforcing truths about faith from Scripture.
the beaches of county Donegal

My dad hung this on a sign in his office when I was a child and I will always remember it's truths -

"Faith sees the invisible,
 believes the incredible,
and receives the impossible."

I am not saying that if we just have enough faith, God will give us anything we ask for and want. His plan is much bigger than that. Yet, I've realized (in my own heart) that sometimes, we are afraid to dream big, pray big, hope big. We're afraid we'll be disappointed. That we'll get our "hopes up". That the Lord won't come through for us. Sometimes He does say "yes" to our prayers. Sometimes, He says "no, my dear" or "not yet" because He has something better (even if it doesn't seem better to us at the time). And over the years, after the incredible elation of watching a prayer come true in a miracle right before my eyes, I've learned (painfully, at times) how His ways are higher than my ways. I often don't understand His plan. And in the reality of the "no's" He has answered as the years have passed, the "not yet'sno matter what He responds, praying is always worth it - faith is always rewarded. And He is always there, holding me close and comforting me with sweet peace.
Oh, hello little vine-covered cottage...step inside? Don't mind if we do. 

our view from the cottage window.
those cows may look whimsical, but their sunrise "moo's" were unwelcome daily alarm clocks.
"The apostles said to the Lord -
'Increase our faith!'"
-Luke 17:5
 "Then He (Jesus) said to her:
'Daughter,
your faith has healed you.
Go in peace.'"
-Luke 8:48
Belfast Castle

"For we live by faith,
not by sight."
-2 Corinthians 5:7
leave it to me...caught wearing 3-inch heels on an unexpected hike up the highest cliffs in Europe..


Have faith, darlin'.
It is precious. And powerful.
Not faith that He will do exactly we want and ask.
Not faith that all OUR plans will work out, our desires fulfilled.
But faith and trust that He can do whatever He wants to.
He can move mountains.
He can change circumstances.
He can change hearts.
He can SAVE.
He can heal.
He can make all things new.
Faith in His perfect plan. His perfect salvation.
His perfect LOVE.
Faith ...when everything is falling apart and we are hurting -
faith that He is there to catch us when we fall. And faith that He is ENOUGH.
Our God can do anything.
The reason I share my story with you is this:
to encourage you to have the faith to believe for impossible things.
Because when you believe,
impossible things can sometimes be possible.
 If God can take 3 little girls
with empty hands and simple faith -
and answer a childlike prayer...
oh the depths of things He can do through and for you.
What is your Ireland?
Talk to Him about it. He just might surprise you.
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
for ever and ever!"
-Ephesians 3:20-21
Hold onto faith and jump -
headfirst, fearless.
Hope and believe for the impossible.
No matter the outcome,
He's gonna catch you.
I know that for a fact.

XO
Erin

20 comments:

  1. What an AMAZING story, Erin!!! How great is it that you had such BIG faith even when you were so young!!! BEAUTIFUL pictures!!!

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  2. This is beautiful Erin! I have an Ireland :) and this post was so encouraging to me. I am praying that God will take Mr. Beard and I on a huge adventure - out of our comfort zones - with my music and our hearts for people. It makes me excited just thinking about it. But it's my Ireland!

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  3. wow...this is.....AMAZING Erin. truly amazing. i love love love it. :)

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  4. What a sweet story!! Exactly what i needed to read this morning:)

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  5. What an incredible story :)
    So encouraging!
    I love the words that your dad has hanging!

    And the pictures are beautiful, too!

    xo

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  6. Can I please live in that cottage?? I love it! What a great story of how God answers prayer - even if it is to remind us that He does :)

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  7. I think we underestimate God sometimes... I know I have. I know that I continue to do so in certain areas of my life where it just seems so impossible. But I recently was given a miracle that I had previously deemed impossible. And it made me realize, maybe we should dream bigger, plan bigger, and pray bigger. :) Happy Thursday friend! Hope it treats you well and is full of blessings!

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  8. Loving these posts, friend! =)
    How awesome how popular you have become!!! I'm stoked for you! =) What a blessing!

    I feel so bad I never went to Ireland living so close to it for so long haha. My bad!

    You are convicting me about writing about times when the Lord has answered my prayers in such wonderful ways =) What an awesome thing to share!

    So thankful for your heart & friendship!

    P.S. You should get a surprise soon ;)

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  9. Gorgeous pictures!!! Love the quote from your dad's sign-definitely going to be writing it down. You're right Faith is SO powerful-and I am often captured by it's dreadful twin enemies that can be just as overcoming-doubt & fear. God is slowly working on me, especially through your posts! Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo,
    Brittany

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  10. You spoke right to me today. I often don't want to dream too big because I don't want to look foolish or be disappointed. But, I can just imagine what all I am missing out on because I don't choose to trust the Lord for everything! Thank you for the reminder to put all my hope and all my trust in him!

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  11. OH so sweet! I love your beautiful pictures and the wonderful inspiration you shared,

    Lacey xoox

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  12. I read somewhere - I wish I remembered exactly where, I do know it was in a book - that the reason we don't see God move in big ways is because we don't ask or trust Him to. And your post reminds me of that, reminds me that if we want to see miracles, we have to pray for them. We have to believe in the power of His name and its ability to make us the channels for His miraculous activity. It isn't enough to sing a few songs, to send up a few prayers, to read a few verses. We need to believe fervently, pray relentlessly, and trust fearlessly.

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  13. One of my favorite posts by you Erin! :) I love how big your faith is! It has been your whole life..something I admire about you so much. I love your strength and determination to trust God in ALL situations and not be afraid to take the leap towards what you want...cause you are right...God catches each and every fall!

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  14. What an amazing story, and beautiful photos of Ireland!

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  15. That's a great story! How incredible God is! This reminds me of when I was a teenager, hanging out with my friends after church, talking about our husbands and future children and the boys we had a crush on (we were positive we were going to marry them. Thank God that didn't come true!) Some of my favorite memories are the ones where we'd have spontaneous Bible studies and prayer time together. :)

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  16. Wow! This is beautiful and inspiring! Your faith is so amazing! God definitely wants us to voice our prayers to Him. He does say to ask! He withholds no good thing from those whose heart's are His!

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  17. This is absolutely awesome. What a great story. Love this!

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  18. ephesians 3:20-21 is one of my favorite verses, and really how i live my life. i don't know how i stumbled across your blog...but thanks for this post, and thanks for ministering words of encouragement to me! your ireland pics are beautiful...my ireland is scotland, we'll see what God can do.

    trusting Him,

    sarah

    drop by and say hello at www.profilesofapapergirl.blogspot.com

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  19. Hi Erin! I found your blog recently and I love it! (This might sound a little creepy but..) I am a student at TMC and I think you were a senior when I was a freshman there. I knew who you were but didn't actually know you, so it's really cool to see your blog and feel like I know you better! Keep writing, you're an encouragement and inspiration to so many people!

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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